How To Find Great Salespeople

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Every good manager is constantly on the lookout for the next great salesperson to improve the revenue of their station or cluster. Every week we’re going to give you the inside scoop on how you can find successful salespeople for your team. Our first interview is with Commonwealth Broadcasting’s Bob Dakin who is the GSM at WKMO, WRZI, WVKB, in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

Radio Ink: What do you look for when you hire a salesperson?
Dakin: First thing I look for is a sense of urgency. It can’t be taught, the true motivation has to come from within. I’ve interviewed some great sales people in my 32 year career that never followed up with me after the interview. It leaves me wondering – “If you don’t follow up for the job, are you going to follow up with a client?”

Radio Ink: How important is training to the success of a salesperson?
Dakin: It’s huge. I think the training has gotten a lot better than it used to be. I’m dating myself here, but at one time people were given a phone book and a 90 day expiration date stamped on their forehead. It was either sink or swim. I was fortunate enough to have some good mentors to help me through. Mentors are important. What it comes down to is helping people achieve their goals.

Radio Ink: Should you manage all salespeople the same?
Dakin: It’s not a cookie cutter type thing. No matter what age, you have to sit down with your sales people and find out what motivates them. Now you have to be fair and consistent with policies, I get that; however something that might motivate a 25 year old is not going to motivate someone who is 50. You can’t manage them all the same way; that’s a recipe for disaster.

Radio Ink: Are incentives important for sales people?
Dakin: A wise old GM once told me that you “have to throw a little hamburger into the shark tank every once in awhile.” You have to make it fun and make sure everyone has a fair chance. If you base it strictly on metrics then one person is going to win it all the time and that’s no fun.

Radio Ink: Where are the best places you’ve found and hired successful salespeople?
Dakin: I have run ads in the trades, but primarily I participate in job fairs. I like to sit down and meet the people. I have hired interns from colleges that we have worked with in the past. Referrals are good. I carry a card in my wallet that if someone has impressed me with their service I’ll give them a card that basically says, “your service has impressed me and these are the kind of people we are looking for. If you want to explore the opportunities, give me a call.” I’ve done that a lot of times. You definitely don’t want to be looking for sales people when you need one. You have to be actively recruiting all the time.

Radio Ink: Are call sheets or daily call quotas a good sales tool?
Dakin: I think good sales people don’t mind being held accountable. Call sheets are fine, unless they become an exercise in creative writing. I’ve seen sheets where it says “prospecting” with a line drawn from 8-to-4. What does that mean? If they are managed effectively to avoid paralysis by analysis, call sheets are fine. Today’s Customer Relationship Management Systems have sort of taken the place of call sheets.

Radio Ink: What is your idea of the best sales meeting ever?
Dakin: Getting everybody involved. I have an old motto – “The mind will absorb what the rear end will tolerate.” I try to keep my meetings short and encourage everybody to contribute. I try to make it very interactive, rather than have me stand up there and preach. I don’t have all the answers and I believe the inability to engage in passionate, unfiltered debate for the good of the group, will either make or break the group.

Reach out to Bob Dakin at 270.763.0800 or email bdakin@commonwealthbroadcasting.com

2 COMMENTS

  1. Incentives are important for sales people?
    I would love to hear some incentives folks like Mr Dakin
    have employed. I know cash is king….what else? I’ve hear of
    weekend getaways for a top closer of the Month.
    $100 cash for anyone that closes a deal over $500 that day. Etc…..

  2. When I took over the mangaement of WKCW-Am in Warrenton, Virginia, my predecessor lamented about how difficult he found it to recruit salespeopel. he showed me full page newspaper ads he ran with virtually no results. You have to think outside of the box. I called nearly every Washington, DC radio sales manager, introduced myself and said, “You probably get a lot of applicants you don’t have room for, and some who aren’t ready for your station yet. Send them to me, we’ll train them and maybe some will come back to you.” My fax machine rang off the hook with resumes!

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